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Blepharitis is an inflammation of the eyelids. It can make eyelids and eyelashes red and crusty and make your eyes feel itchy or irritated.  It can lead to burning, soreness or stinging in your eyes. In severe cases, your lashes may fall out and you can develop small ulcers or styes.  The eyelids may become puffy with symptoms worse in the morning. When you wake up, you may find your lids are stuck together.

Blepharitis can be a chronic long-term condition or a reaction that can be treated and never reoccur.  Chronic Blepharitis  can come back even after it has cleared up and usually affects both eyes.
You can treat blepharitis by just taking care of your hygiene. Treatment may be required for several months.

Types of Blepharitis

There are two types of blepharitis:

  1. Anterior blepharitis affects the outside front edge of your eyelids, near the eyelashes. This may be caused by an infection by staphylococcus bacteria (staphylococcal blepharitis) and happens in younger people.
  2. Posterior blepharitis is caused when something affects your meibomian glands (produce part of your tears). This is called meibomian blepharitis.

Seborrhoeic Dermatitis

Another complication causing blepharitis is seborrhoeic dermatitis which makes your skin inflamed or flaky. This can involve the scalp (dandruff), lashes, ears and eyebrows. Seborrhoeic dermatitis can cause both anterior and posterior blepharitis.

Blepharitis is more common in people over 50. As you get older, the glands in your eyelids secrete part of your tears become blocked more easily. Your tears contain fewer lubricants and your eyes can feel gritty and dry.

Treatment for Blepharitis

If you have blepharitis, avoid eye make-up and contact lens wear. Visit your optometrist  for an eye exam where the best course of treatment withh be recommended.

Some of the most common at home treatments are:

Warm compresses which work by warming the material that blocks the glands and loosening the crusts on the eyelid, making them easier to remove. We usually recommend eye masks that are heated in the microwave and then placed on the eye for 20minutes followed by lid scrubs. 

Lid scrubs using a tear sensitive formula. Previously Baby shampoo was recommended but this is no longer the case as the baby shampoo was found to have a negative effect on the tear film. With the scrubs aim for the base of the eyelashes. Repeat morning and evening for two weeks or as prescribed by your optometrist. Lid wipes or solution can be purchased from your optometrist or pharmacy.

Lubricants/an ointment used on the edges of your eyelids after cleaning them can help your eyes feel more comfortable. If you have dry eyes, you can use gel or drops to lubricate them. Ask your optometrist to recommend the best type for your problem.

Oral antibiotics can be used if other treatments do not work but must be prescribed by your doctor.

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